What qualifications do I need to be a Dentist?

As a dentist you will get involved in a wide range of activities - x-rays, tooth extractions, root fillings, checking for oral health including cancers as well as fitting crowns and dentures.

A good dentist will make sure major problems are prevented before they occur and ensure that not only do your teeth function properly but that they look good as well.

There are also specialisms such as orthodontics which you can opt for further down the line.

Pros
• You will always be in demand and you should be able to find employment anywhere in the UK
• You will receive a good salary
• A rewarding job, for example fixing peoples smile after they have lost teeth through an accident

Cons
• Peoples bad breath

GCSEs
A minimum of five GCSEs including maths, english and at least two science subjects.

A-levels
Three A-levels including two sciences, usually Chemistry and Biology and at grades ABB or above.

If you have non-science A-levels you could apply for a dental degree by taking an additional pre-dental year. Alternatively if you have other approved access courses such as VCE and Scottish qualifications, these may also be considered.

Degree
You will normally have to take a five year dental degree (six years if you have to take the additional pre-dental year). Of course you should always check all requirements with the University you are planning to study with.

How long will it take to get qualified?
5 to 6 years studying a degree, followed by further on the job training (which will depend on the area of dentistry you decide to work in) and continuing professional development throughout your career. You will be expected to do this to ensure you keep up-to-date with the latest technology and developments in your field.

Typical salary
As a dentist you could expect a starting salary of around £28,000 raising to around £60,000 or even higher* once you have some experience. An NHS dentist could earn between £35,000 and £80,000 depending on the level of experience - and senior or consultancy posts earn much higher.

* for example, if you are an associate in a good practice.

Useful websites
British Dental Association www.bda.org
The General Dental Council www.gdc-uk.org
The Royal College of Surgeons of England www.rcseng.ac.uk
The Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh www.rcsed.ac.uk